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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 18th March 1807
Final meeting: Thursday 23rd March 1843
The Northamptonshire village of Pytchley, close to the important A14 road, was a focal point of the Pytchley Hunt Group who organised race meetings in the middle of the 19th century. The earliest meeting took place on Wednesday 18th March 1807, after which races were held annually. At the third such meeting on Wednesday 21st March 1810 the opening Hunters Sweepstake was won by Sir Sacripant, owned by Mr Bouverie, beating John Pell’s Dapple and Mr Cooke’s Enchanter. The prestigious Pytchley Silver Cup was won by Mr Manning’s 5 year old grey gelding, defeating Trimmer and Scriveton. Meetings continued regularly and on Monday 27th March 1826 Northampton Racecourse was the venue when the Pytchley Plate, donated by the Hunt Committee, was run over 1 ½ miles and won by Mr B G Drage’s Petronius. The Card also consisted of a Sweepstakes won by Cantab for Mr W Payne, and the Pytchley Hunt Cup sponsored by the Hunt Committee which went to Mr Harris’s Duchess. Meetings continued throughout the 1830s and into the 1840s until the two day meeting on Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd March 1843, the last to be billed solely as a Pytchley Hunt Meeting. The Trial Stakes was won by Mr W Sadler’s Conquest and the Chesterfield Handicap by Pretension for Mr Isaac Day.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.

James Whyte’s History of the British Turf notes that Pytchley Hunt Race meetings were first held in 1826. They made use of Northampton Racecourse towards the end of March. Whyte records the March 1839 races as:-
The Tally-Ho Stakes over 2 miles;
Pytchley Trial Stakes over a mile and a quarter;
Pytchley Open Stakes over a mile and a half;
Pytchley Hunters’ Stakes over a mile and a half;
Pytchley Farmers’ Cup over a mile and a half;
Pytchley Hurdle Sweepstakes over 2 miles and 6 hurdles;
The Clerk of the Course at this time was T H Waters.

The ‘History of Northamptonshire’ recorded that The Pytchley Hunt Steeplechases were held in both 1855 and 1856 as Grand Military events organised jointly with the Pytchley Chase group. The army had just returned from the Crimean war, and the races took place over a course extending from Cottesbrooke pastures to Brixworth Brook. The Grand Military Steeplechase was won by Horniblow and he also won the 4 mile race on the same day when ridden by Lieutenant Henry Blundell, then in the Rifle Brigade but later to become Colonel Blundell of the Grenadier Guards.

In 1857 the steeplechases were contested again, although the winning field was positioned closer to Cottesbrooke. The winner of the principal event was Magnet, ridden by a French Officer named Viscount Talon, who defeated the gallant Horniblow by a neck.

The Pytchley Hunt Steeplechases were run at Hopping Hill, in the parish of Maidwell, in the years from 1873 to 1879. The first of this series of meetings took place in 1873, followed by further meetings in each of the years 1875 through to 1879. One particularly impressive meeting took place in 1878 when HRH The Prince of Wales was in attendance, along with the Duchess of Teck and the Empress of Austria.

Local Patrons Pytchley Hunt Committee, Mr Hill, Mr Wilkin, Mr Solloway
Principal Races Yeomanry Plate, Pytchley Open Stakes, Tally-Ho Stakes, Pytchley Hurdle Sweepstakes

Monday 27th March 1826
Pytchley Hunt Cup for 60 Sovereigns, sponsored by the Hunt Committee
1. Duchess, 4 year old owned by Mr Harris
2. Sylvanus, aged horse owned by Mr Boulton
3. Driver, aged horse owned by Mr Wilson

Thursday 2nd April 1835

The Yeomanry Plate over 2 miles
1. Saccharina owned by Mr Hill
2. Little Bo-Peep owned by Mr Dickens
3. Diana owned by Mr Foll

The Pytchley Open Stakes over a mile
1. Denbies owned by Mr Wilkin
2. Cottager owned by Mr Ongley
3. Little Rover owned by Mr Lambden

The Pytchley Hurdle over 2 miles
1. Cannon Ball owned by Mr Solloway
2. Bras de Fer owned by Mr Shaw
3. Figurante owned by Mr Firth

The final meeting took place on Thursday 23rd March 1843.
Course today At a range of courses including Northampton racecourse, then from Cottesbrooke to Brixworth.
If you have photos, postcards, racecards. badges, newspaper cuttings or book references about the old course, or can provide a photo of how the ground on which the old racecourse stood looks today, then email

Much of the information about this course has been found using internet research and is in the public domain. However, useful research sources have been:-

London Illustrated News

Racing Illustrated 1895-1899

The Sporting & Dramatic Illustrated

Northern Turf History Volumes 1-4 by J.Fairfax-Blakeborough

The Sporting Magazine

A Long Time Gone by Chris Pitt first published in 1996 ISBN 0 900599 89 8

Racing Calendars which were first published in 1727

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-1-0

352 pages

400 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-2-7

180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

Copies of the above books are only available by emailing stating your requirements, method of payment (cheque payable to W.Slusar) or Bank transfer, and the address where the book(s) should be sent.
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Volume 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
Volume 2 South of Hatfield £14.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 3 Wales & Scotland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
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